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Concert

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Bob Westcott

Save the date! Grounds & Sounds Café, located at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 380 Nicolls Road, East Setauket will welcome acoustic, folk, classical and blues singer/songwriter Bob Westcott, left,  in concert on Friday, Sept. 14 at 9 p.m. The evening will be preceded by an open mic at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 per person at www.groundsandsounds.org or at the door. For more information, call 631-751-0297.

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By Anthony Petriello

Comsewogue High School will be rockin’ for a good cause July 19 with John Elefante, former lead singer of the American classic rock group Kansas.

A concert — called A Night of Hope — is being presented by the Warriors of Faith Christian Club, a group of Comsewogue students who organized the event to benefit the family of Brian McGuire, a district resident, former NYPD detective and 9/11 first responder who died suddenly April 30, leaving behind three children and his wife Karin, according to a GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the family. The event is meant to raise money for the family and for attendees to gather for prayer and discussion, according to a flyer promoting the concert.

Joining Elefante will be Kevin Chalfant, former lead singer for the Alan Parsons Live Project and former member of the world-renowned 1980s rock group Journey.

A benefit concert is being held at Comsewogue High School July 19 at 7 p.m. to benefit the family of a late community member.

Chalfant said he is eager to perform and was dedicated once he was informed about the circumstances surrounding the benefit.

“When John Elefante asked me to join him on Long Island for this wonderful family get together I was very happy,” Chalfant said. “I never knew the officer but when I heard that he was a first responder on 9/11, that’s all it took for me to be committed to this wonderful event.”

The money donated through ticket sales and a silent auction will go toward paying for college educations for the McGuire’s three kids. Their oldest son, Thomas, graduated from Comsewogue June 21, and will be attending Suffolk County Community College in the fall. Their son Michael will be entering 11th grade this upcoming school year, and their daughter, Danielle, will be heading to eighth grade.

Local businesses including Chick-Fil-A, School of Rock, and Wahlburgers, among others, as well as clergy from Axis Church of Medford, Harbor Church of Patchogue, Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle, and the Christian Cultural Center in Smithtown are working together to promote and organize the event along with the Comsewogue students. All of the funds raised will be directed to the McGuire family.

Pastor Anthony Pelella of Axis Church is one of those coordinating the event, and said he wanted to be involved just to help a family in need.

“We just wanted to give them something to make them smile,” he said.

Pelella will be delivering a message of hope prior to the concert. He said he believes in the notion that the Port Jefferson community is an extremely interconnected and faith driven place to reside.

“I believe that the Port Jefferson community hurts together,” He said. “When one person hurts we all hurt together, and when one person smiles we all smile together.”

Comsewogue school board President John Swenning also said he is looking forward to the event and raising funds for the cause. While Swenning is not the main coordinator of the concert, he said he is putting his full effort behind it and working to maximize the aid the concert generates for the McGuire family.

“It is humbling to see a community come together to help a neighbor in their time of need,” Swenning said. “There is no place I would want to raise a family other than the Comsewogue community.”

The silent auction will consist of gift baskets and guitars autographed by Elefante and Chalfant.

Assigned seat tickets can be purchased at www.comsewoguehs.seatyourself.biz. Special tickets are also for sale for a meet and greet and dinner with the band, with food provided by Wahlburgers. Tickets for the meet and greet dinner are being sold by Axis Church, which can be reached by emailing info@axisny.org. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Comsewogue High School. Standard admission tickets will also be sold at the door.

On Aug. 23, and despite Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) being unable to attend, Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) introduced Beatles cover band Strawberry Fields as the second-to-last free concert as part of a four-part series this summer at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Rocky Point. Hundreds flocked to see the band perform early and later songs in the Beatles’ career and danced the night away as band members rocked the stage. Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot, a Billy Joel tribute band with roots in Miller Place, will perform the last concert of the series on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.

Cold Spring Harbor performs at the Village Center in Port Jefferson on July 21. Photo by Joseph Wolkin

By Joseph Wolkin

Thursday nights in July are for music, beautiful sunsets and good times in Port Jefferson.

The Harborside Concert Series hosted its second of four installments July 21 at Harborfront Park outside of the Village Center.

Amid the warm temperature and radient sky, the Cold Spring Harbor Band took to the stage to perform a Billy Joel tribute concert.

Led by Pat Farrell, known as “Piano Man Pat,” the band played chronologically according to Joel’s career. Starting with his first album, “Cold Spring Harbor,” the band played covers of the singer’s most popular songs.

The Cold Spring Harbor Band. Photo by Joseph Wolkin
The Cold Spring Harbor Band. Photo by Joseph Wolkin

“This is a fantastic venue,” Farrell said after the concert. “We play at a lot of places, but we’re playing right by the water. It’s just incredible and we had a great turnout. It’s beautiful here at Port Jefferson.”

Husband and wife Bill and Margie Recco attended the concert as part of a relaxing evening by the water with their friends. Margie Recco attended high school with Joel at Hicksville High School, ut the two never met.

“I think it’s great,” she said about the concert series.

Her husband agreed.

“It’s lovely here,” he said. “It has a breeze. It’s a wonderful night. There’s a free concert and it’s just really nice.”

“Every venue is different,” Farrell said. “You have great weather. It’s right on the water. Port Jefferson is world-renowned. It’s right up there.”

The Cold Spring Harbor Band ended the evening by singing “I’m Proud to Be an American,” with the crowd getting to their feet and singing along to the patriotic song.

Next up in the Harborside Concert Series is an Aug. 4 performance with Six Gun & DJ Neil Wrangler, featuring country music.

From left, Todd Evans, Terri Hall, Gary Settoducatto, Christine Kellar and Henry Diaz in concert at the Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson Photo by Heidi Sutton

Sunset Concert

Sunset concert

He-Bird, She-Bird (acoustic roots Americana) kicked off the Port Jefferson–Northern Brookhaven Arts Council’s 2016 Sunset Concert series (formerly the Picnic Supper Concert series) on July 6. The event, which took place at the Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, drew a large, enthusiastic crowd.

The group, featuring Todd Evans, Terri Hall, Christine Kellar and “sidebirds” Gary Settoducatto on drums and bassist Henry Diaz (special guests for the evening), sang tunes from Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Buddy Miller, Adele and Hazel Dickens as well as original songs by Kellar including “Once I Called You Mine.”

Up next for the trio is an appearance at IRIE Therapeutic Riding Program annual fundraiser at Giorgio’s in Baiting Hollow on July 21, Garden of Eve’s Tomato Festival (August) and Garlic Festival (September) in Riverhead. Their debut CD will be released at the end of the summer. For more information, visit www.HeBirdSheBird.com.

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The Sound Symphony Orchestra’s Family concert will feature music from ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and ‘Frozen.’ File photo

The Sound Symphony Orchestra is putting a twist on a classic family-friendly composition. Nearly every year the orchestra holds its family concert, and this year is no exception with its unique rendition of “Peter and the Wolf — Lost in the Museum!” this Sunday at the Comsewogue School District’s John F. Kennedy Middle School, 200 Jayne Blvd., Port Jefferson Station.

“We’ve built an extended narrative around Peter and the Wolf. So while the kids and their families are going  to be hearing the story of “Peter and the Wolf” in its entirety, we’ve embedded it in a larger story,” said Dorothy Savitch, music director and conductor of the orchestra.

The original “Peter and the Wolf” symphony was written by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev in 1936 with the intent to cultivate “musical tastes in children from the first years of school.” The story follows a young boy named Peter, a bird, a cat and a duck on an adventure to catch a devilish wolf.

However, the Sound Symphony Orchestra’s rendition depicts a boy of the same name whose drawing of a wolf comes to life and jumps into a painting during a trip to the art museum. The orchestra helps bring the paintings and the story to life alongside narrator Comsewogue School District Superintendent Joseph Rella, as Peter gets lost during his quest for the wolf.

According to Savitch, the orchestra hopes to excite children and spark their imaginations by incorporating paintings from the Brooklyn Museum.

“I think by letting our imaginations go, by allowing different kinds of art to speak to each other and speak to us, we can better express ourselves,” Savitch said.

“Frozen” will also get its five minutes of fame as the orchestra highlights portions of the film in the concert, which is always a big hit among younger audiences. Savitch added that “kids always start singing along with all the melodies they know so well.”

But viewers of all ages won’t simply be entertained but also treated to passes to the Brooklyn Museum upon request. The Brooklyn Museum donated 125 passes to the orchestra in light of the concert. Those interested in exploring the museum and finding the painting incorporated in “Peter and the Wolf — Lost in the Museum!” can get a pass at the door once the concert ends. Children can also receive handouts with games and puzzles based on the concert.

While children do not perform in the orchestra, the 65-member ensemble has a variety of musicians from 17 to around 80 years old. Savitch said some orchestra musicians have served the ensemble for around 30 years. Now, they have several generations of family members who perform for the ensemble. Savitch started working with the orchestra around 20 years ago.

For Savitch, the concert’s story line hits a sweet spot. “For me and for many people [in the orchestra], the composition was our doorway into loving classical music.”

Residents can see Peter find his wolf and a way home on Sunday, Jan. 31, at the John F. Kennedy Middle School’s auditorium at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and will be sold at the door. Admission is free for children 12 years old and under. For more information, call 631-827-9022.

Butchers Blind will be one of the last bands performing at the Sunday Street Concert series' old venue. Photo from Charlie Backfish

By Ellen Barcel

The University Cafe at Stony Brook University will be closing early in 2016 due to renovations of the Student Union, but that doesn’t mean that the wonderful series of Sunday Street Concerts, which have been held there for more than a decade, will be ending.

First, going out with a really special performance, the Sunday Street Concert series will present its final show at the University Cafe on Saturday, Dec. 12, which will include Butchers Blind, Chris Connolly and Bryan Gallo, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

“For our last hurrah at the cafe, we’re presenting some of Long Island’s finest young musicians in a very special evening to benefit WUSB-FM and the Sunday Street Series as it moves to its new venue,” said Sunday Street Concert series producer Charlie Backfish.

Then, changes will take place. One is that the venue itself will change, effective 2016. Future concerts will be held down the road in the Gillespie Room of the Carriage Museum at the Long Island Museum, in Stony Brook. Wine, beer and cider will be available there.

A second change is that the concerts will be open to all ages. “That’s particularly good news because we have had parents wanting to bring their children to shows but had to say ‘no’ due to the university policy for the cafe,” said Backfish.

The Sunday Street Concert series will welcome Sloan Wainwright on Jan. 17 to its new venue at the Long Island Museum. Photo from Charlie Backfish
The Sunday Street Concert series will welcome Sloan Wainwright on Jan. 17 to its new venue at the Long Island Museum. Photo from Charlie Backfish

A third change is sponsorship. “This new direction for us is an interesting partnership between the Sunday Street Series, WUSB Radio (90.1 FM, the university’s own radio station), the Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council and the Long Island Museum,” said Backfish. “LIM has been expanding their programming to include music (the North Shore Pro Musica is already holding their concerts there), the GPJAC supports live performances in our area, and the Sunday Street Series of WUSB was seeking a new venue in order to continue. This all was a perfect match.”

Backfish, who is the director of field experience and student teaching in the Department of History at SBU, also hosts the radio station’s Sunday Street morning program, from 9 a.m. to noon. featuring acoustic, folk and singer-songwriter music.

“I’ve had a lot of performers joining me on air during my radio program, Sunday Street, on Sunday mornings on WUSB. Norm Prusslin, the former general manager of WUSB, suggested thinking about having some of these artists follow up a radio appearance with a show at the University Cafe, at that time a new venue,” he said. “It seemed like a very good idea and the result has been this series, which has now had 175 shows during its existence.”

What will not change is the great lineup of musicians who will be performing. The first concert of the new year is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 17, at 3 p.m. when Sloan Wainwright, known for a variety of American music styles including pop, folk, jazz and blues, will be performing. Tickets are $22 in advance, $27 at the door (cash only), if available. “Sloan Wainwright is a great singer whose amazing alto voice powers songs of others as well as her own songs. No surprise since she is part of a well-known musical family, with her brother Loudon Wainwright, and her nephew Rufus and nieces Martha and Lucy,” added Backfish.

The second scheduled 2016 performance will be on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 3 p.m. when Willie Nile will be performing. Advance sales are $25, $30 at the door (cash only), if available. “Willie Nile is a legendary figure on the rock music scene who came to prominence with a debut album hailed by critics. He writes powerfully and always delivers high-energy performances … Since his most recent album is a collection of his songs played on a grand piano, we’re looking forward to Willie making use of the grand piano in the Gillespie room at LIM,” said Backfish.

Another thing that won’t change includes the annual Dylan show. “Our annual celebration of Bob Dylan’s birthday in May has always been special since we assemble a group of musicians who are devotees of Dylan’s work … We’ll continue this tradition at the LIM on Saturday, May 21, at 7 p.m.,” said Backfish. “Coincidentally, the museum at the time will be presenting a traveling exhibition from the Rock and Roll Museum and Hall of Fame,” he added.

The future schedule includes the Scottish band, The Paul McKenna Band in March, Ian Matthews and Plainsong in a tribute to Richard Farina in April and John Gorka, also in April. For details and tickets for the 2016 performances go to www.sundaystreet.org or www.gpjac.org.

The museum, which curates a large number of Setauket artist William Sidney Mount’s paintings, is a very appropriate venue for concerts. Mount not only had many musical themes in his paintings but also played the violin himself as well as designing a violin. “You can almost hear echoes of” him at the museum, noted Backfish.

The Sunday Street Concerts received a warm “reception from the folks at the Long Island Museum,” he added. “I’m really happy we were able to do this. The people at the LIM … want to expand their music — it’s very timely.” Backfish noted that the movement to the Long Island Museum really “expands what the museum does since they already are the venue for North Shore Pro Musica’s concerts.”

The move to the LIM “parallels some of the things they will be doing. For example, an exhibit on traveling music festivals … It couldn’t be better timing,” noted Backfish, adding, “We’re delighted that the LIM has been so supportive in enabling us to continue this series in a great new venue.”

“We are very fortunate to be involved in this,” said Neil Watson, executive director of the LIM. “This is our second season of North Shore Pro Musica. The museum is a cultural hub. We are trying to engage as many people as we can, create as many experiences as possible. I was interested in creating a singer/songwriter series after Pro Musica. When Charlie came to us about losing their space, the collaboration with him grew — a great marriage. We have a wonderful space and sound system and Charlie has the experience booking the talent. I’d like to do a jazz series in the future. We are beyond thrilled, so happy about it. People can experience the museum not only through their eyes but their ears.”

Regarding the future LIM music exhibit beginning in May, Watson noted, “It’s an opportunity to look at culture … All festivals were a lightning rod for more than just music.” He added that during the exhibit there will be talks, panel discussions and additional music.

Backfish will welcome Watson and Joshua Ruff, director of collections and interpretation of the museum, as his guests on Sunday morning, Dec. 13, on his show on WUSB (90.1 FM and wusb.fm) to discuss the partnership of the Sunday Street Series with the Long Island Museum.

The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages is located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook. It is a Smithsonian affiliate. For further information on the museum, visit www.longislandmuseum.org or call 631-751-0066.

Long Islanders and their friends and family members gathered on Tuesday for the Rocky Point concert series’ last performance of the year.

Community members danced, sang and cried during the Mark DelGuidice & Big Shot: The Ultimate Billy Joel Tribute, which began at 7 p.m The band’s performance wrapped up this year’s Rocky Point Summer Concert series, which began in early July.

The North Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce alongside members of the Veterans of Foreign War were two of the organizations that attended the concert.

During an intermission period, the Veterans of Foreign War were invited on stage for the audience to pay tribute to their service. Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) was also among the crowd. Anker, who announced the schedule for the Rocky point concert series, joined the veterans on stage as Joe Cognitore, commander of the Veterans of Foreign War, waved the American flag.

The audience members remained at the concert until late in the evening as they enjoyed the tribute, which feature Billy Joel songs as well as songs by Elton John and other artists.

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